Shankhapushpi or Shankhpushpi Ayurvedic herb health benefit by Ray Sahelian, M.D.
Feb 6 2014

Shankhapushpi - also spelled Shankhpushpi is an indigenous plant and common Ayurvedic Herb, an ancient system of Indian medicine, as a rasayana which is mainly advocated for use in mental stimulation and rejuvenation therapy. Little human research has been published in the Western medical literature regarding shankhapushpi . One study shows shankhpushpi to have anti-ulcer effects due to augmentation of mucosal defensive factors like mucin secretion and glycoproteins. Another study showed shankhapushpi may be helpful in improving symptoms of hyperthyroidism - see thyroid disorders - by reducing the activity of a liver enzyme known as hepatic 5'-monodeiodinase (5'-DI).
   
 I have come across this herb's botanical name either as Convolvulus pluricaulis or Evolvulus alsinoides. I am not sure which is correct or whether both are appropriate.

Effect on learning and memory
Effect of Evolvulus alsinoides on learning behavior and memory enhancement activity in rodents.
Phytother Res. 2009. Nahata A, Patil UK, Dixit VK. Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Dr Hari Singh Gour Vishwavidyalaya, Sagar, India.
In the Ayurvedic system of medicine, the whole herb of Shankhpushpi has been employed clinically for centuries for its memory potentiating, anxiolytic and tranquilizing properties. The present study was undertaken to investigate the effects of Evolvulus alsinoides, considered as Shankhpushpi on learning and memory in rodents. Nootropic activity using Cook and Weidley's pole climbing apparatus, passive avoidance paradigms and active avoidance tests were used to test learning and memory. The ethanol extract of Evolvulus alsinoides and its ethyl acetate and aqueous fractions were evaluated for their memory enhancing properties. Two doses (100 and 200 mg/kg p.o.) of the ethanol extract and ethyl acetate and aqueous fractions were administered in separate groups of animals. Both doses of all the extracts of Evolvulus alsinoides significantly improved learning and memory in rats. Furthermore, these doses significantly reversed the amnesia induced by scopolamine. Nootropic activity was compared using piracetam as the standard. Evolvulus alsinoides also exhibited potent memory enhancing effects in the step-down and shuttle-box avoidance paradigms.
    See memory herb pill for more information on natural ways to enhance brain function.

Curr Aging Sci. Dec 6 2013. Comparative Evaluation of Ethanolic Extracts of Bacopa monnieri, Evolvulus alsinoides, Tinospora cordifolia and their Combinations on Cognitive Functions in Rats. The effects of ethanolic extracts of whole plants of Bacopa monnieri (BME), Evolvulus alsinoides (EAE), Tinospora cordifolia (TCE) and their combinations in equal proportion [CEP-1 (BME+EAE), CEP-2 (BME+TCE), CEP-3 (EAE+TCE) and CEP-4 (BME+EAE+TCE)] were tested in amnesic rats using Radial arm maze task performance (RAM) and Barnes maze test at 200 mg/kg p.o. The latency to find food and target hole was observed in RAM and Barnes maze respectively. Cognitive dysfunction was induced by scopolamine (0.3 mg/kg i.p.) treatment. BME, EAE, TCE and their combinations of equal proportion (CEPs) showed significant decrease in latency to find food and target hole in RAM and Barnes maze respectively. Inter comparison among single extract alone treated groups revealed that BME treated animals showed significant difference as compared to EAE and TCE treated animals. All combinations of equal proportion (CEPs) of these extracts showed significant difference in latency to find food and target hole as compared to single extracts treated animals. CEP-1 showed significantly better effect as compared to CEP-2 and CEP-3. Significant difference in latency to find food and target hole was also present between CEP-2 and CEP-3. Effect of CEP-4 was found to be significantly better than CEP-1, CEP-2 and CEP-3 treated rats in both models. From present investigation, it was concluded that ethanolic extract of Bacopa monnieri, Evolvulus alsinoides and Tinospora cordifolia provided better nootropic effect when used in combination.

Shankhapushpi or Shankhpushpi Research
Evaluation of comparative and combined depressive effect of Brahmi, Shankhpushpi and Jatamansi in mice.
Indian J Med Sci. 2000.
Evaluation of depressive activity of drug extract of Brahmi, Jatamansi & Shankhpushpi and their combined effects were studied on 66 mice of either sex. It was found that combined effect of Jatamansi, Shankhpushpi and Brahmi showed the potent depressiveness in mice. While in individual drug extract, jatamansi exhibited more potent effect than other two drugs.

Analysis of a clinically important interaction between phenytoin and Shankhapushpi, an Ayurvedic preparation.
Seth Gordhandas Sunderdas Medical College, Parel, Bombay, India.
J Ethnopharmacol. 1992.
During the course of routine plasma drug level monitoring an unexpected loss of seizure control and reduction in plasma phenytoin levels was noticed in two patients who were also taking Shankhapushpi, an Ayurvedic preparation. Therefore, the present study was undertaken in rats to investigate any Shankhapushpi-phenytoin interaction from both pharmacokinetic (serum levels) and pharmacodynamic (electroshock seizure prevention) aspects. Single dose Shankhapushpi and phenytoin (oral/i.p.) coadministration did not have any effect on plasma phenytoin levels but decreased the antiepileptic activity of phenytoin significantly. On multiple-dose coadministration, Shankhapushpi reduced not only the antiepileptic activity of phenytoin but also lowered plasma phenytoin levels. Shankhapushpi itself showed significant antiepileptic activity compared to placebo and is worth further investigation. However, the clinical combination of SRC with phenytoin is not advised.